A little past 3 pm Wednesday afternoon, a Franklin County common plea judge ordered former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett transported to a halfway house. This marks the first step in ending a some 3.5 odd year saga culminating in time being served federal prison. As you may recall, we helped co-champion the "FREE MAURICE" movement along with a few scholarly Buckeyerazzi types from around the twittersphere. Accordingly, we can't help but pat ourselves on the back, nostalgically recall MoC's first robbery (the legal type, of the late Sean Taylor), and dream of a world where one day getting your Goose on will go hand in hand with pumping some iron. The news also gave us an excuse to post that totally awesome picture of a, uh, jollier MoC in a prison outfit cut to resemble a Dashiki. We think.
On a more serious note, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Clarett will spend between four and sixth months in Maryhaven, a facility with dorm-style bunking allowing inmates to depart to work full-time. The paper goes onto describe the facility as something between "a county jail and a prison", though emphasizing the preparedness it can provide in helping one-time inmates adjust to post-jail living. We go onto learn that Maurice also spent some of his time incarcerated studying geriatrics and gerontology and aspires to work with the elderly. Here's wishing him the absolute best going forward as he re-acclimates to day-to-day life and the outside world. For those looking to relive Maurice's glory days, check out this video titled "The Freshman", commemorating Clarett's heckuva one season in scarlet & gray (forewarning: you are thankfully spared the Verve Pipe song but subjected to something worse).
In case the heartbreak of Butler's Villain-esque heave coming up so painstakingly close has had college hoops off your radar for the last couple of days, you may have missed this. Or this. This and this definitely fit the bill as well. It's certainly an almost unnerving "what have you done for me lately?" climate we're growing ever increasingly accustomed to these days in college athletics. Makes it almost impossible not to wonder if the ilk of a Coach K (38-47 in his first three years) or John Calipari (48-45 in his) would've made it through a recruiting cycle in this day and age. It does, however, certainly help to us realize more and more how good we've got it with a coach the caliber of Thad Matta leading the basketball Bucks. A floor of 20 wins, a 35 win season and a title game berth, a Final Four, and 3 Sweet 16s. I know it's been said around these parts that these times aren't like any we've seen in some 4-5 decades but it really can't be emphasized enough.
Of course, that's saying nothing of the man declining overtures (as in plural) from schools the stature of Indiana and Kentucky. During Thad's time wearing suits on the sideline of Value City, the two whom many assumed would be at the top of his personal list have had two openings a piece. Each time approached (which admittedly was less of an issue on UK's second go around), Thad's done the smart thing: listen to the overtures, analyze his options, politely declined, and gotten back to work. At this juncture, it's fairly safe to assume there isn't a "dream job" on the horizon nor is it likely we're looking at any other historical powers making a play for the Bucks' fearless leader anytime soon. Couple that with the likes of this and isn't hard to see why we as fans should make more of an effort everyday to realize just how fortunate we are as fans going forward. Having Elite Eight/Final Four expectations going into 2010/'11 doesn't suck one bit, particularly when you consider the alternative.